One of the central complaints against starchitect architecture, and modernism as a whole at times, is that the buildings are too often more for show than for use. That was one of the criticisms leveled at popular architects most famously issued in 2007 by Boston University president John Silber in his widely-read and discussed book, Architecture of the Absurd, which had the good fortune to be released around the same time news that Frank Gehry‘s Stata Center at MIT had started to leak (Silber even used the building for his book’s cover). Now those same charges can be leveled once more, this time against Daniel Libeskind. If you’re a long-time reader of our blog, you might recall our reporting back in 2008 on the mall the famous architect had designed in Bern, Switzerland. We thought it looked sort of nice in the pre-opening renders, very Libeskind-y. But now just three years old and it’s already falling apart. Building Design reports that, for the second time in its brief existence, a portion of its roof has collapsed, this time over an indoor swimming pool, injuring three people and narrowly missing a child. Incredibly, and fortunately, that was the extent of the total damage after “100sq m of the suspended gypsum board ceiling and insulation fell 10m onto the floor.” Of course, now the blame will rest largely on Libeskind, as you can already see in some of the BD comments. And like any construction failure, blame will likely shoot in every direction. Neither is correct, of course, given the amount of parties involved in the building process, but it’s sure to give ammunition for those hunting for it. Libeskind, for his part, is staying mum until the official investigation is complete.
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